The fire was started by the improper use of a kitchen appliance, according to firefighters.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A resident’s attempt to cook a pizza started a fire in a two-story apartment and left about 20 people homeless, Gwinnett firefighters said Saturday.

Firefighters were called to an apartment fire in Somerset Crossings just before 1:30 p.m. Fire trucks set up a station on the 400 block of Summerwalk Parkway NW in unincorporated Tucker to battle the flames.

Heavy fire was found in the first and second apartments, extending to the attic in the left rear corner of the building, which housed eight units. Firefighters extinguished the flames and were able to bring the blaze under control within 20 minutes, according to Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services.

Firefighters said they found two dead cats on the first floor and learned that two units had been badly damaged by the flames. The other six units sustained minor smoke or water damage, crews said. No other injuries were reported.

In their investigation, firefighters determined that the flames were started in the kitchen of one unit “due to the improper use of a cooking appliance”. Firefighters said occupants of the apartment said there were three people at home and one of them had recently “cooked a pizza in a toaster above the counter in the kitchen. kitchen”. When the meal began to smoke, residents tried to put out the fire but were unable to put it out and evacuated, firefighters said. Smoke detectors in heavily damaged units were not working at the time of the fire, GCFES said.

The Red Cross stepped in to help provide temporary assistance to displaced people. About 20 residents, including 14 adults and six children, were temporarily evicted from their homes, Gwinnett County Fire said. Apartment management was working to help tenants relocate or restore utilities to the less impacted part of the building.

“Firefighters encourage all citizens to practice home fire safety. Be sure to install working smoke detectors on every level of the home and in every bedroom. Develop a home escape plan and practice regular fire safety. fire drills,” officials said in a statement.